When your bath tub drain gets blocked it's something that you should get sorted before the problem becomes more serious. However, it's not necessarily a job that requires a plumber - save yourself some cash and tackle the problem yourself. Here's how.
The anatomy of a drain
Unlike the U-shaped drain below a sink, most bath tub drains are shaped like the letter 'P'. This means a certain amount of water can be held or 'trapped' and prevent unpleasant smells from coming up the pipe into your house. Over time these traps can become blocked with soap scum and hair, causing water to drain away slowly or not at all.
Take a good look
Often, you can see what is causing the blockage. If this is the case you might need to remove the drain plug. You can then either remove the blockage with your fingers (you might want to wear rubber gloves) or hook it out with a bent wire coat hanger.
Baking soda and vinegar
Combine half a cup of baking soda with half a cup of vinegar and pour directly down the blocked drain - the faster the better. Leave to sit for a few minutes before running the hot tap. This is also something you can do every three months or so to keep drains free of whiffs and blockages.
Use a plunger
If you cannot see what is causing the blockage then your next step is using a plunger. Fill the bath with enough water to cover the base of the plunger. Fill the bath with enough water to cover the base of the plunger, cover the overflow outlet with a cloth and start 'plunging'. Push up and down six times to create pressure in the drain. Keep doing this until the blockage clears and the water drains away.
Snake the drain
A 'snake' is a steel spring cable that can extend up to 25 feet into pipes, collecting debris as it goes. On a bath you need to feed the snake down the overflow outlet rather than the drain. Twisting the snake as you push it down the drain helps to move it through the trap. Once the snake is past the trap you can then move it up and down, while still turning to remove the blockage. Plumbers find this the most effective method, so fingers crossed that you do too.